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When in Malaysia
W.B. Milestone, Inc., a manufacturer of sophisticated computer parts, recently moved the operations of one of its divisions to Malaysia. The Company has hired several hundred workers at wages considerably below their U.S. counterparts, but consistent with the prevailing wages in Malaysia. Not only is the Company benefitting from the lower wages, it is also able to reduce its costs further because of the deplorable factories used for its operations (no air conditioning and poor ventilation), it can dispose of waste without any government oversight, and government inspectors are routinely given gratuities for favorable inspection reports or to otherwise grease the skids for the Company. The Company’s operations are in all key respects in accordance with the laws of Malaysia.
You were recently hired as a senior vice-president in charge of the Malaysian operations and you are concerned about what you have seen and heard as to how the plants are being operated. When you called a colleague in the states, he said to you “keep your mouth shut and when in Rome do as the Romans do”. What are some of the ethical issues you should consider in charting your course of action and how would you resolve them?
References (May use outside sources as well): Press CTRL + CLICK
Ethical Relativism and Business
Theory of Ethical Relativism (Criticism of the theory of ethical relativism)